As we enter the 21st century, there is growing awareness of the importance of the world's oceans and the world is moving toward construction of an integrated ocean governance system. In Japan, however, we do not have a national organization responsible for studying ocean issues nor a forum for discussing them.
Mankind has long been utilizing the ocean and its resources in many different ways. However, in recent times, given the background of population growth, continuing technological advancement and the accompanying social development, there is growing interest in the conservation of aquatic resources, the marine environment and marine navigational safety. The importance of the ocean as the common asset of mankind is now being realized throughout the world. Mankind has reached the stage where sustainable social development cannot be ensured for future generations unless certain rules are established through a consensus of opinion.
The Ship & Ocean Foundation, established in 1975, is a grateful recipient of Nippon Foundation's public funding, which is raised through motorboat racing in Japan. Until now we have undertaken various projects mainly in the areas of shipbuilding and marine technology. On April 1, 2000, we established an "Ocean Policy Think Tank" with the purpose of further developing our ocean-related projects. The fundamental philosophy of this think tank is man's coexistence with the ocean. At the "Ocean Policy Think Tank," we plan to undertake many different kinds of ocean-related projects. This publication is also one of these projects.
Clarifying the diverse values and potential of the ocean and sharing such information is a precondition for building a consensus and making decisions regarding the utilization and conservation of the ocean. We plan to undertake a diversity of ocean-related projects on a global scale, including the construction of an integrated, interdisciplinary network involving experts in Japan and overseas in the areas of both natural and social science, the implementation of surveys and studies of various ocean issues, the proposal of agreed guidelines as viable policies, and so on. We intend to improve the reliability of proposals by taking advantage of technical experience and knowledge we have accumulated in relation to the ocean and also to conduct interdisciplinary activities that transcend the scope of established technical fields and specialties, while also verifying the technical basis of new developments.
We will organize the results of these projects into guidelines, make public such guidelines as proposals to society, request opinions on them, and evaluate and review them so that we can reexamine their significance and appropriateness. By disseminating knowledge about the ocean, we wish to make as many people as possible realize the ocean's importance. In the belief that young people should be educated on the importance of the ocean at an early stage, we would like to spread knowledge about the ocean through social education and increase their awareness of the importance of the ocean.
We will operate the "Ocean Policy Think Tank" as an open organization that can function as a forum for the exchange of expert opinions and information from home and abroad covering the diverse range of marine issues. We will also construct a network in which this think tank plays a central role. Furthermore, as part of our efforts to increase interest in ocean issues we are publishing this newsletter so that researchers and authorities from different specialties can propose maritime policies and discuss ocean issues.
In this way, as a 21st-century-type open NPO, we will endeavor to maintain the neutrality and social fairness of our organization. We would very much appreciate hearing your candid opinions on any aspect of our activities.